Fighting the Good Fight: An Iconic Moustache Returns to the Stage (AFD)
Update 4/1/15 - 5:30 PM PDT
As most of you have figured out, this was an April Fool's Day story. Thanks, everyone, for playing along — and apologies for creating any confusion or false hope for the return of the 'stache!
Via Canadian Moustache Aficionado, April 1, 2015
By David O. Alexander, Class of 1980
In an exclusive interview with Canadian Moustache Aficionado, Rush drummer Neil Peart took time out of his busy rehearsal schedule to discuss the upcoming R40 Live tour — but, more importantly, his new handlebar moustache. Like the rare comet that returns once or twice in a lifetime, it's been approximately 37 years since these iconic whiskers have adorned Peart's face.
Above: Neil Peart and his new handlebar moustache. Photo courtesy of Grump.David O. Alexander (DOA): Hi, Neil! Thank you for taking time to talk to Canadian Moustache Aficionado.
Neil Peart: Nice to meet you, David. It's a first for me, too, talking to a moustache magazine.
DOA: Before we start, I have to tell you that your handlebar moustache was very inspirational to me. I could never grow one like yours, but that didn't stop me from trying!
Neil Peart: As Bob Dylan said, "The highest purpose of art is to inspire." I'm glad my moustache inspired you, although I don't know if it qualifies as "art." (Laughs)
DOA: So my first question is, after all these years why bring the moustache back now?
Classic Rush: Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and a moustachioed Neil PeartNeil Peart: There's actually an interesting chain of events that led to this choice. First off, throughout the years I've heard from many fans around the world clamoring for a return of that 70s handlebar moustache. I can't say I understand this form of monomania. I mean, I understand it in terms of pursuing a goal or acquiring a skill, but not a moustache. So, around the Test for Echo (1996-1997) tour, I got the idea to grow a goatee. I'd already affected a handlebar, as you know, and didn't want to repeat that pattern. It was also a bit of an experiment. I really wanted to see if the letters would stop about the handlebar. They didn't. If anything, there were more letters.
Test for Echo: Neil Peart and the goateeDOA: Actually, I was one of those fans who wrote to you. Do you remember reading my letter?
Neil Peart: Um, no. I try to read all my mail, but I just don't have time to respond to everything.
DOA: How many letters do you get asking specifically about the handlebar moustache?
Neil Peart: Last month it was probably 50. But the important thing is, even with all those letters, I just couldn't accept bringing back that particular hirsute artifact from the past.
DOA: Be honest. Was it my letter that helped change your mind?
Neil Peart: In many ways, David, I wish it had been your letter. It would have been a lot easier. No, this pressure came from an altogether different vector. During the Clockwork Angels tour, we made an intermission and outro film in which I played a gnome with an exaggerated Burnside-style beard/moustache. At the end of 2014, my Mom finally watched the DVD for that concert. The next day, she called and asked, "Whatever happened to that wonderful moustache you used to wear?" I tried to explain, but she wouldn't listen.
Neil Peart as a gnomeDOA: Did you tell her about all the letters?
Neil Peart: No, I didn't tell her about any of that nonsense. But after I didn't respond positively to the relentless moustache overtures, she started another campaign. First, she called my wife. Then Geddy, Alex — even the front office! I started getting calls from all of these people, asking what was going on. I was worried she might take to Facebook or even call into Eddie Trunk's show.
DOA: That would be so cool if she called into Eddie Trunk!
Neil Peart: Maybe for you. Anyway, my Dad finally called — as a kind of intermediary, I guess. He said, "Neil, you need to listen to your mother. She knows what's best. You wouldn't be in Rush without her sage advice." Here I was in the middle of preparing for a major North American tour — including putting together my new DW drum set made out of 1,500 year old Romanian river oak — and I was getting badgered every day about a silly moustache! So, I called my Mom and gave her the good news. The moustache was to have an encore performance after all. (Laughs)
DOA: That's quite a story! But I do think your Mom does know best.
Neil Peart: You may be right. Incidentally, all this drama made me think again about a quote I like, which is attributed to either Plato, Philo of Alexandria, or John Watson (depending on your source): "Be kind — for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." I realized I was fighting a losing battle against a moustache.
DOA: That's a great quote. "I realized I was fighting a losing battle against a moustache."
Neil Peart: Yeah, actually that is pretty good. I need to write that down.
DOA: You know, I'm curious. Don't you think you could sell them?
Neil Peart: Sell what?
DOA: Sell official Neil Peart handlebar moustaches — you know, like the kind you glue on your face for Halloween? I bet you'd make a crapload of money!
Neil Peart: Forgive my silence, but I'm trying to figure out if you're serious...
DOA: I couldn't be more serious.
Neil Peart: I've heard a lot of product pitches, but that one... let's just say it reaches a new level of originality.
DOA: So you think it's a good idea?
Neil Peart: I suppose there are worse ideas. But not many.
I wasn't sure how the interview went. But a few days later, I got an email from SRO (Rush's management company) from Ray Daniels himself:
Neil Peart wanted me to contact you about your interview with him. Here is what he wrote:
"What can I say? The interview with Canadian Moustache Aficionado was groundbreaking on so many levels. If only we'd had more time..."Neil also wanted me to pass along the following info, as he thought that you — of all people — would appreciate it. We're announcing a specialty item on Rushbackstage.com for fans who want to own a piece of the Peart moustache mystique. Attached is a screengrab of this item:
Also, Happy April Fools Day!